What is your definition of a healthy snack? Does it have to be sugar or fat free? Or, can the snack be made with pure, organic ingredients that have beneficial fats, vitamins and fiber?
I am a believer of the later. I am not saying you should enjoy a bowl of this rosemary sea salt caramel every day. Treating yourself once or twice a week to a small portion of this popcorn not only satisfies your sweet and salty cravings but provides your body with some brain boosting and heart healthy vitamins and fats.
The non GMO, fiber rich corn kernels are popped in coconut oil which may be beneficial to your brain and help with weight management. Real Maple syrup is rich in calcium and contains anti-oxidant compounds reported to have “anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and anti-diabetic properties.” The pasture butter made from grass fed cow milk contains more vitamin E and CLA to reduce your bad cholesterol. The hand harvested French Grey sea salt is rich in magnesium and trace minerals not readily found in table salt and many foods due to the lack of nutrients in the soil. Rosemary is a natural anti-inflammatory, can improve circulation in the cardiovascular system and brain and help you concentrate.
Since several Moms have asked me on how to get their children to eat healthier snacks (and lunches) at school so they can focus in the afternoon, I have been watching and researching what kids will eat or at least try. Kids love carbs but need more fiber and protein. Popcorn is an easy snack full of fiber but make sure it is non GMO. Adding a little natural sweetener will improve the chances children will eat the entire snack and not toss it in the trash. They need the fuel during a long day at school.
Adding Rosemary to the snacks may help them focus and relax when they are struggling with a concept. The problem is many kids will not eat their food if they see something green. That is why we use the Rosemary French Grey in snacks which has a ton of fresh rosemary preserved in the salt but the kids do not see the large Rosemary leaves sitting on top of the kernels.
Try making this popcorn only with the Rosemary Sea salt and get them hooked. Then slowly add some freshly chopped Rosemary for even more benefits and they may not notice the green since they love the taste. After you have them hooked on the popcorn, then add some pecans in the mix and you have a protein packed snack.
Lets slowly introduce healthier snacks to the kids and then we can tackle lunches and dinners. It will be a slow progression but in the end, kids will be eating foods you never thought they would try. They will have more energy (God help us), perform better at school and in sports, feel better, and grow to become strong and healthy adults.
Since Shakespeare spoke of Rosemary for Remembrance and the sprigs are also symbol for love, my daughter wanted to give this Rosemary Sea Salt Caramel popcorn bags to her friends on Valentine?s Day. She is so proud of the SNACK FACT saying she came up with for the Valentine; it is on the back side of the card. I will post how to make this in more detail shortly. Have a great Valentine?s Day!
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees for standard or convection.
2. Place the 1/2 cup of organic corn kernels and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (you can measure it when the oil is solidified) in a large pot over medium-high heat, toss the kernels in the oil and cover the large pan. Once kernels begin to pop, shake the pot frequently. They will burn if you do not keep them moving. When the popping slows to about 3 seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat and uncover. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Cook the 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of medium to dark amber maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a long spoon until the mixture turns an amber color (caramel color will vary based on amber of maple syrup) or measures 225 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of Back to Organic Rosemary French Grey sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh chopped Rosemary, if using. Taste to see if you want more salt. Pour the caramel over popcorn and toss to coat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the popcorn.
5. Bake about 30 to 45 minutes until the caramel is hard. Allow the popcorn to cool for about 5 minutes. Crack the pieces apart and serve. Note: This popcorn can be stored in an airtight container for about 3 days. Divide into small bags to take as snacks and control your portions. This is addictive. Enjoy!
Maple Syrup- http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100321182924.htm
Popcorn recipe adapted- http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/caramel-popcorn-with-rosemary.html